By Mallory Wittstruck, Nebraska Pork Producers Association Intern
As an NPPA intern, I attended Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street, an intensive training for those within the pork industry, especially pork producers, to help spread the message about the pork industry. The training was held in Lincoln, Neb., on July 9th and 10th.
As I am not a pork producer, I wondered how the focus of this training would affect my public speaking skills and if I would be able to get something viable out of the two day training…. and boy did I learn a lot! Not only did I improve my public speaking skills, I received training on how to deliver a positive message to the media and the public. I never realized the skill that is needed to inform someone who may not know anything about our industry – our seemingly harmless words about the pork industry may be misinterpreted into a negative light. What we thought was something positive could have a negative result so that is why it is so important to have the proper training through programs such as Operation Main Street.
Even though I am working on my public relations minor as a senior journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I believe this training was more helpful than a lot of my college classes. Through Operation Main Street, we were able to practice interviews with a professional radio reporter, hear the resulting radio broadcast and then learn from the professional on how to relay our message better.
The most helpful part of the training was breaking up into small groups and practicing prewritten speeches and answering pork production related questions from our peers. Our speeches were videotaped allowing us to visually reflect what we needed to improve on when giving a speech. I just received my DVD of my speech and although it is a bit painful to look and critique my mistakes, I believe it is the best learning tool one can have.
Operation Main Street helps producers and friends of the industry across the country upgrade the pork industry’s image starting at the vital local level. So even if you are not a pork producer, or maybe you are, please contact your state association or the National Pork Board and learn how you can help your industry.